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 Post subject: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:27 pm 
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The RNC just elected their new chairman, and the black guy from Maryland, who was not even a member of the RNC, won the election. Steele has a long history as a moderate Republican, not a social-conservative bible-thumper.

Is this reason to hope for the Republican party and the country, or will this prove to be nothing but a shallow publicity stunt?

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:01 pm 
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Can't it be both a reason for hope and a shallow publicity stunt? The party can do things that have good effects for totally asinine reasons and sometimes such things are difficult to undo at a later date. If people find they like this sort of publicity stunt then perhaps such stunts will have to become more and more common until they are a staple policy.

Such matters aside, I like this guy. He is sharp, he doesn't handle snakes in his off time, and he at least appears to be trying to maintain the dignity of the system... which is better than we can say for most of the clowns waltzing around both parties right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:38 pm 
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Fun as it's been watching the Republican party slide towards irrelevancy, the Democrats need a decent opposition to keep them slightly honest. Let's hope this is a step towards the party finding its feet again. They seem to have rediscovered their love of opposing government spending what it doesn't have (after 8 loooooooooooooooooong years) even if they managed to find the one time when it would actually be a good idea. Now if only they can rediscover a foreign policy based on reality and remember that minimal intervention in people's lives means staying out of the bedroom as well as the pocketbook and perhaps they might be electable again.

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:56 am 
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I've never heard of Michael Steele, but I'm just glad the guy who put out the "Barack the Magic Negro" tape didn't win. If the Republicans told that clown to go shove it, maybe there's hope after all.

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:36 am 
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Mostly a publicity stunt. This chaps solidly in the ranks of Republican 'conservatives', and only ever won an election in Maryland by lying about it to the voters (and got crucified when next he tried to run after they caught him at it). Yes, he's black; but so's Clarence Thomas.

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:35 pm 
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Annnnddddd...... that didn't take long. Sorry conservatives, looks like you'll be out in the wilderness just a little longer.

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:47 pm 
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I wonder if they're going to find some talented new spokesliar, or if the GOP will stay a party of the hindbrain south and west long enough to go the way of the Whigs...

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:08 am 
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Uhh. "The problem is the messenger, not the message."

Y'know, I heard an interesting debate on NPR months before the election, talking about the growing irrelevancy of the Republican party. Basically, it said that a defeat was quite likely (duh) for the GOP, and it would be a test for them whether they accepted defeat as a problem with the message or messenger. If they perceived the former, they were likely to reinvent the party and have a shot in the years to come. If the latter, then they would likely become more marginalized and extreme in order to desperately hold onto a shrinking base. Not, of course, that these are the only two possibilities, but the debater that covered this point predicted almost exactly this happening, and it seems to be holding true thus far.

Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm 
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I think it's a result of the growing power of the evangelicals, the Christianists (similar in style and substance to Islamists, only the violent fringe isn't yet common among them). They've been moving to take over the Republican party for years through a cunning understanding of the rules and a willingness to sit and argue for hours until the rational Republicans leave, thus allowing the Christianists to do whatever they want.

The end result is that the Republican party has hewed closer to the values that a large number of Americans agree with, and also become more rigid in its thinking and uncompromising in its actions. The result, 6 years after the Contract With America, was the Bush presidency. The result of that was, following years of hardline refusal to compromise, disaster.

The pundits on NPR were correct; the Republican party had to choose between message or messenger. They chose messenger and will become increasingly marginalized. They'll still be able to motivate the fundie base, but that base is not a majority, and increasing alienation will drive the nonfundies to vote in greater numbers as the Republican party grows more strident and shrill in the face of Obama's successful policies.

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:25 pm 
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Assuming of course, that Obama's policies are in fact successful. I'm being fairly optimistic by my standards, but the guy's a rookie, the economy is in freefall, and I expect him to fall flat on his face a couple of times. When he does, the Republicans will be ready to pounce - the question is whether Obama's voters (many of whom were not hard-core supporters, McCain just looked worse) give up on him quickly.

If the Republicans play their cards right, they may be able to tap into the populist anger that's building against the bankers that got us into this mess - the Obama administration will have to give them more bailouts, he'll almost certainly err on the side of overpaying them, and the executives will go and blow the money on more bonuses and corporate jets. And then the Republicans can try to brand the Democrats as limousine liberal purveyors of Lemon Socialism (heads I win, tails you lose), despite the fact that the Bush administration did the exact same thing already.

If they're very, very lucky, or very very skillful, the Republicans can try to merge economic populist anger with their usual bogeymen - the immigrants, the gays, the dirty hippies - and ride back to power on a wave of anti-Hope. But hopefully, a majority of people won't buy that same old script all over again. Especially if the Republicans put Sarah Palin in charge and she makes enough of an idiot of herself that she turns her party back into a laughing stock.

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:13 am 
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Mebbe. Actually, Palin scares the hell out of me. Why? Because she's almost a serious candidate. Of course she's unbelievably unqualified. But she was running for VP in a tight race - her perceived position will give her undeserved credibility. She gets on her game now, learns how to hammer talking points home and at least how to scrape through an interview without sounding like she has mooseburger for brains, and she's gonna start looking good to the righties. Y'know, unless she gets crow's feet.

But seriously, I hear she's gearing up for 2012 - the GOP will nominate, fund and promote whomever satisfies the focus groups the most - she could potentially be the biggest sock-puppet President this country has ever had. And yes, I know; "After Bush, that's saying something." I agree.

Oh, and by the way - could someone tell me WTF is up with her accent?! I'm from Alaska. People used to think I was English until I picked up a touch of southern drawl in Texas. Why in the name of GOD does she sound like she grew up Newfoundland and went to school in Minnesota?

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:53 am 
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Novae D'Arx wrote:
Oh, and by the way - could someone tell me WTF is up with her accent?! I'm from Alaska. People used to think I was English until I picked up a touch of southern drawl in Texas. Why in the name of GOD does she sound like she grew up Newfoundland and went to school in Minnesota?


I had my entire high school convinced I was a foreign exchange student from canada for awhile based entirely on my accent. My parents are from West Virginia and I was born and raised in Kentucky. I honestly have no idea how that happened

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:04 am 
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Her parents are from Idaho. I don't know anybody from Idaho, so I don't know what their typical accent sounds like. I can't imagine it sounding too terribly different from the Infamous Pacific North West Non-accent. Maybe her accent is manufactured? Or it's something particular to the town she grew up in that doesn't correspond to the rest of Alaska?

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:00 pm 
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Unless Obama makes an utter hash* of the next four years, Palin wouldn't stand a chance running against him directly. Her great weakness is that she made a bad first impression on independent and left-leaning voters. And, for that matter, many right-leaning voters. The popular consensus view of Palin is that she is an idiot. Not just inexperienced, but in fact idiotic.

*As in, bad enough that it's almost universally accepted that he is responsible for the problems and that it isn't just random disasters happening.
__________

Imagine if Dan Quayle had studied hard and run for president in 1996. Even if he wasn't throwing out bloopers left and right, even if he had learned to spell potato... he would still be Dan Quayle. Very few people would want to vote for him, given his track record.

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 Post subject: Re: Michael Steele
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:11 pm 
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But Quayle wasn't a secret muslim.

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